Vitamin D: New Recommendations
We have all heard a lot about vitamin D in the media lately as there has been tremendous focus on the potential vitamin D may have for prevention of cancer, multiple sclerosis, cardiovascular diseases and immunity. This article will give you an un-derstanding of the function of vitamin D and provide you the answer to the two common questions; “what foods have vitamin D” and “do I need a vitamin D supplement?”
What does Vitamin D Do?
“Vitamin D is a nutrient that helps the body use calcium and phosphorous to build and maintain strong bones and teeth. Too little vitamin D can cause calcium and phosphorus levels in the blood to decrease, leading to calcium being pulled out of the bones to help maintain stable blood levels. This can cause rickets in children and osteomalacia (softening of the bones) or osteoporosis (fragile bones) in adults.
Is there a risk of having too much Vitamin D?
Too much vitamin D can cause too much calcium to be deposited in the body, which can lead to calcification of the kidney and other soft tissues including the heart, lungs and blood vessels. Too much is considered to be over the Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) listed in the table below.
Table: 1: The Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI) for Vitamin D
How much Vitamin D do I need per Day?
Your recommended dietary allowance for vitamin D is the amount you need to take each day. To calculate how much food you need to consume to meet your requirements see Table 2 below.
Table 2: Good Food Sources of Vitamin D
Do I need to take a Vitamin D Supplement?
If you consume foods high in vitamin D each day to meet your DRI then you do not need to take a vitamin D supplement. Health Canada recommends adults consume at least 2 cups of fluid milk or milk replacement (such as fortified soy, almond or rice beverage) per day. ” Each cup of milk or milk replacements contains approximately 90-100IU of vitamin D.
If you do not take in any of the foods listed above each day or do not take enough to meet your Recommended Dietary Allowance of vitamin D, you should either change your eating habits to optimize your vitamin D intake or consider taking a daily supplement. It is important when choosing a supplement that you remember most multivitamins have 200IU of vitamin D per tablet. If you are already taking a multivitamin you may get enough from your diet plus the amount in a multivitamin.
If you do not meet your requirements, vitamin D supplements are available in dosages of 100IU to 2000IU per tablet. Be sure to check the label to choose the right amount without getting too much. The Tolerable Upper Intake Level is listed for you in the table above which is your limit on the number of International Units of Vitamin D to take per day. The upper tolerable limit includes vitamin D from both food and supplements. If you are unsure how much vitamin D you are taking in your diet or if you need a supplement how much you should take check with your Medical Doctor or your Registered Dietitian.